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[Control Units] [Abuse] [Potosi Correctional Center] [South Central Correctional Center] [Crossroads Correctional Center] [Southeast Correctional Center] [Missouri]
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Missouri Forces Fights, Brutalizes Prisoners

I have been incarcerated in the Missouri Department of Corruption since 1997. Over these many years I have been confined to seven different "camps" within the state of "Missery."

I have seen prisoners maced and beat severely at Potosi Correctional Center in the late 90s. Officers there would routinely chain prisoners up "hog tied" like and leave them lying in their cells. Rather than move prisoners that didn't get along or otherwise weren't compatible they would make them fight and in two instances I know of, prisoners were murdered by their cellmates.

All over the state it is common practice to place completely incompatible people in a cell together. Guys with life without parole being celled with prisoners with only a matter of months left in their sentence.

At Crossroads Correctional Center I saw a sergeant kick a "chuck-hole" closed on one prisoner's arm. Another sergeant grabbed a prisoner in a reverse headlock and dropped said prisoner on his face using all his own body weight. Prisoners with asthma or other health problems are sprayed with pepper spray.

All over the state it is common for prisoners to be "free-cased" for violations or crimes they had nothing to do with because a scape-goat was needed in a hurry to save face or out of animosity issues between staff and prisoners.

At South Central Correctional Center prisoners were "free-cased" for another prisoner's murder because the institution needed scape-goats to cover up their own incompetency in running a safe and secure 'camp' and insufficient security equipment.

All over the state there are prisoners on a status termed "long term mandated single-cell confinement." This security status has no set end, no guidelines and no governing policies or any unit set aside for such a special security status. There are men on this status who have been confined solidarity for over ten years.

At South East Correctional Center things are to a point where at the time of this writing there are prisoners eating foreign objects such as ink pens, screws, and any item obtainable (in one case the ear stem of a pair of eye glasses) to express the need to be transferred away from the tyrannical oppression found in this backward run facility.

All over the state prisoners are housed in single-man cell units with prisoners with severe mental illness so they are subjected to round the clock beating on walls and sinks, yelling and screaming, smearing and throwing feces, urine, etc. Lights are left on or shut off per the whim of the officers.

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[Control Units] [Gang Validation] [Security] [Texas] [ULK Issue 27]
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More Orgs Labeled "Security Threat" for Raising Consciousness

Recently I was informed that my naci├│n is now considered a Security Threat Group (STG) here in the state of Texas. Not because we are doing anything that's criminal, but because the system knows that we have the potential to make change possible for all, which they see as a direct threat to their institution. For years we have been around, but now they see more and more of us getting tuned in to our doctrine, becoming aware of the de-humanization of the system. So it seems that they want to slap us with this label. Recently in an article published in ULK there was a fellow Black Panther, who is here with me, informing you all that the Gang Intelligence staff have also classified them as an STG in the state of Texas.

All I can say to those manitos and manitas doing time representing [these groups]: there is nothing new under the sun! Keep underground not because we have a sense of guilt, but because by watching and studying history we made ourselves a threat and now the system is ready and waiting to take us out just like it does with so many others. The war on STG is real and the tracking mechanism they use is serious, inside and out.

¡Trucha! Always be aware and make the right decisions.

Remember, just because you are in general population doesn't mean that the future is going to be the same. This goes for all the lumpen class. Prepare yourselves for that ripple effect because the war on so-called STGs is going to get much more repressive.


MIM(Prisons) adds: This comrade is right that the prisons throw around the "security threat" label as an excuse to lock down conscious prisoners organizing against the system. We get many letters talking about this happening in states across the U.$. In addition, the "security threat" label is used to keep Under Lock & Key out of prisons. This censorship is so common that every issue of ULK finds many copies returned to us, in some cases banned from entire facilities.

This writer gives good advice to be very careful about what information we reveal. We don't need more good comrades locked up in segregation just for their lumpen organization affiliation. Don't make it easy for the pigs. Don't give them any information.

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[Control Units] [Apalachee Correctional Institution] [Florida]
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Control Units in Apalachee Correctional Institution

I am currently housed in an administrative confinement unit in Florida's Apalachee Correctional Institution. The East Unit has two confinement buildings: Disciplinary Confinement (DC) and Administrative Confinement (AC). In DC we are on 24 hour lockdown except to take showers on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday for 3 minutes to wash. Once you've been on DC for 30 days you are eligible for recreation outside for 3-4 hours on Saturday, but they only give us 1 hour, if that. We exercise in what's called a dog cage. It is 15x8 feet approximately.

Administrative Confinement (AC) Y Dorm houses prisoners placed here for security purposes ranging from disciplinary reports, protective management, or investigation. They sometimes use AC as a form of punishment just because they want to. You can stay back here up to 180 days. AC holds about 30-40 prisoners on each wing (1,2,3).

The cell is 6x10 feet with bars as the door. I can touch wall to wall with both arms extended. We rarely get recreation. It's infested with rats and ants which come in and out of your room throughout the day. Your toilet only flushes two times every hour, sometimes less. There's no central heating or air conditioning so right now it's summer and it reaches 100 degrees and we have to be fully dressed. They only have fans at each end of the hall and certain officers will turn them off as a punishment. The office has AC so it won't affect them. Here showers are also Monday, Wednesday and Friday, but you are in a cage with another prisoner which is dangerous because there's a possibility of rape. They give you a piece of a whole soap about the size of a credit card broke in half, if even that big. It's hotel soap and we only get one a week. We get toilet paper every 10 days, sometimes it takes longer. We are supposed to receive 2 rolls per inmate but they just give us one and if you run out, you're just out until next time.

This place is terrible. I wouldn't want my worst enemy here in AC or DC.


MIM(Prisons) adds We have been collecting statistics on control units in prisons across the country as a part of our campaign to shut down the control units. This prisoner's report is part of more general information he provided about the units in Florida. To help us compile accurate statistics about control units in your prison, write to us for a copy of the control unit survey.

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[Political Repression] [Organizing] [Control Units] [California State Prison, Corcoran] [California] [ULK Issue 26]
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Report Back from Corcoran Hunger Strike

[This series of events followed two statewide food strikes in California in 2011 focused on putting an end to Security Housing Units and improving justice and conditions in CA prisons.]

When we, the prisoners housed in the Administrative Segregation Unit (ASU1) of CSP-Corcoran, initiated a hunger strike to protest against the inhumane conditions and constitutional violations we faced in the ASU1, the prison officials responded with retaliation and indifference. Their intent was clear: to set an example of what would occur if these protests that had been rocking the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) this past year continued. Their statement was not only meant for the protestors in this ASU1, but for the entire class of oppressed prisoners in the CDCR.

The hunger strike in this ASU1 initially began on 28 December 2011. It was a collective effort with various races and subgroups standing in solidarity for a common interest. A petition was prepared with the issues we wanted to address, and it was submitted to the Corcoran prison officials and also sent out to prisoner rights groups in an attempt to gather support and attention.

A few hours after the protest began, Warden Gipson sent her staff to move the prisoners who were allegedly, and falsely, identified as "strike leaders" to a different ASU. I was included in that category because my signature was on the petition that was submitted to prison officials. When we initially refused to move, the correctional staff came to our cells wearing full riot gear to cell extract and move us by force. Since we were engaging in a peaceful protest, we agreed to move and were placed in the other ASU. This turned out to be 3A03 EOP, an Ad-Seg unit that houses severely mentally ill prisoners.

While isolated in that psychiatric ward, we continued to refuse food until we received word that the hunger strike ended in the ASU1. I later found out that the Warden and Captain had met with the spokesmen of the ASU1 protestors and promised to grant a majority of our demands but requested three weeks to implement the changes and to have the agreements in writing. The protestors agreed to give the prison officials the benefit of the doubt, and for that reason the hunger strike was put on hold.

I continued to file complaints and 602s during this period asserting that my placement in a unit along with severely mentally ill prisoners violated my Eighth Amendment right because I was not mentally ill; and that my placement in this psychiatric ward was the result of illegal retaliation by prison officials against me for exercising my First Amendment right to peaceably assemble and protest. These grievances went ignored. In addition to my isolation in the psychiatric ward, I received a 115 for "inciting/leading a mass disturbance" (12 month SHU term), and was later found guilty although they had no evidence to support that charge besides my signature on a petition. The other protestors who were also falsely identified as "strike leaders" were issued the same 115 for "inciting/leading a mass disturbance."

On 18 January 2012, Warden Gipson ordered her staff to move me, as well as the other isolated protesters, back to the ASU1 believing that the hunger strike was over. Before we were moved back, she sent an email to Lt. Cruz of 3A03 and asked him to read it to us. It contained a warning that she would not tolerate any more disturbances in the ASU1, and a threat that any such behavior would carry more severe reprisals.

After three weeks passed since the hunger strike was put on hold, it was clear that the prison officials had no intent to honor their word and keep their promises. The hunger strike resumed on 27 January 2012.

The ASU1 Lieutenant, after hearing that we resumed the protest, came to a few protestors and stated the following: "We are tired of you guys, all you guys, doing hunger strikes and asking for all this shit. I am not only speaking for myself, but for my superiors as well. There are correctional officers and staff getting laid off because the state doesn't have money, and you guys in here are asking for more shit? You know what, we don't care if you guys starve yourselves to death. You guys aren't getting shit. The only thing you'll get are incident packets."

Two days later, on 29 January 2012, Warden Gipson sent her staff again to round up the alleged "strike leaders" and place them in isolation. This time, the spokesmen who had previously come out to speak and negotiate with the prison officials regarding our demands were also included in that category. We were all moved once again to 3A03 psychiatric ward although we were not mentally ill. Furthermore, our visits were suspended by classification committee for the duration of our "involvement in the hunger strike," and we were issued another 115 for "inciting/leading a mass disturbance."

The retaliation did not stop there. All the participants of the hunger strike were issued 115s for "participation in a mass disturbance," and the most important of all, the correctional staff and prison officials were deliberately indifferent to the medical needs of the starved protestors in the ASU1. When some of the protestors started losing consciousness, experiencing serious pain, and requesting emergency medical attention, the correctional staff were deliberately slow in responding, and in many instances just simply ignored them. This conduct and this mindset, of prison officials to set an example by showing deliberate indifference to the medical needs of the protestors, directly contributed to the death of one of our own. His brave sacrifice and unfailing personal commitment will never be forgotten, nor will it have been for naught.

This is where they stand. The oppressors who take away our freedom and liberty continue to fight tooth and nail to deprive us of even our basic human rights. They employ brutal means of retaliation and suppression in an attempt to keep us from exposing the harsh truths of everyday life inside these prison walls. Although the ASU1 hunger strike may have ended, I will continue to have the spirit of resistance. The outcome will not be decided by a single battle but of many, and I will do my part in hopes that my small contribution may make a difference.

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[Control Units] [Arizona State Prison Complex Florence Central] [Arizona]
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Conditions in Arizona Control Units

Currently I'm on a level 5/5 maximum security yard in Florence AZ called central unit, and here we only receive two meals a day, a sack breakfast with 6 slices of bread and 2 or 3 slices of some processed meat, maybe peanut butter, 2 slices of cheese and a state tea, salad dressing and mustard pack around 6:45 a.m. Then we get a hot dinner with small portions around 8 p.m. at night. That's 10-14 hours almost between meals.

We get recreation in single man recreation cages for two hours every Monday, Wednesday and Saturday and receive showers on the same day. The rec cages are filthy. Some filled with bird (pigeon) feces and have been swept out only once my entire year at this facility. We can only take one water bottle to rec with us, and we never see another correction officer until rec is over; which sometimes lasts 3-4 hours in the heat due to shift change or count movement.

We don't get any chemicals to clean and sanitize our cells (which are one man) or toilet and usually have to use our own store bought or indigent soap to do so, and for those of us without money that's a costly procedure. I've been sitting in this cell for a minute and this yard is fucked up. My ceiling is cracked and falling apart, my paints peeling and these pigs always say "I'll put in a work order" and we never hear from them again unless we stay on their asses. These pigs got many convicts scared to act in any way (unless it's a racial offense) and scared to lose their good time or eligibility to go up in phases, or get STGd.


MIM(Prisons) responds: These conditions, which amount to nothing short of torture, in prison control units are common across the country and a driving force behind our campaign to shut them down.

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[Organizing] [Control Units] [Colorado]
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Restricted Privileges in Colorado is Another Name for Control Unit

I am writing from a prison in Colorado. Here they have special units called RP or Restricted Privileges. These units are 22 and 2 lockdown. They will put you in here for anything they feel is right. Like being fired and having reasonable excuses for missing work. Also for not admitting guilt to your crime when your case is still in appeal. They want you to admit to your crime so you can take their classes and be in compliance. I'm in a camp that houses persons with a sex offense. 85% of this camp has some sort of a sex crime. They will violate you and put you in RP if you do not participate in a group, but they are understaffed and so it takes years if not a decade to get into these groups.

In this RP we are limited to almost everything. We are called last for chow, which usually interferes with our two hours out a day. Also they let us only look through a preselected book cart with books that are not rotated out. They keep us from the library here. This keeps us from learning and making copies. Our yard time is limited as well. We get one hour out, once a week. Even people in the hole get one hour out every four days. Our visits are restricted to a two hour visit on a Thursday afternoon. My family lives out of state so a visit is impossible. Also they turn off our phone time so we are unable to call home or friends. And lastly they restrict our mail.

Their grievance process is impossible here. You properly file step one, two, three and still they tell you "you failed to follow the proper grievance steps." If somehow you do make it through their grievance process, and you fill out all the forms properly, still there is nothing done.

I'm trying to create here a strong offense and a powerful defense. Educating others and myself about ways we can stop this injustice. This is supposed to be "the land of the free." Well we all know it's not. I, however, shall stand strong and fight till the better end. I shall stand till we overcome! I shall fight for peace and inform all.


MIM(Prisons) responds: This story of lockdown and lack of effective grievance procedures is echoed across the country throughout the criminal injustice system. It has become acceptable in this country to lock people up in long-term solitary confinement for years, and then to deny them any legal recourse to even enforce the prison's own rules and policies. United Struggle from Within has initiated the grievance campaign to demand our grievances are addressed. But this is just one small part of the larger fight to do away with this system of injustice. Write to us for a copy of the petition for your state or to help modify a petition to the laws of your state if we don't yet have one.

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[Control Units] [Ely State Prison] [Nevada]
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Solitary Confinement at Ely State Prison (Max)

I was just given 1 year in the hole by these fascist pigs who want to see me break down and give in. Not only do they put me in solitary confinement, they put me smack dead in the middle of two mental patients who have lost their grip on reality. I truly believe this was an attack on my sanity because when I receive my meals I hear the pigs say it must suck to be you and things of that nature. I just look at them and give no reply.

The madness starts about 11pm every night, I call it party time. Doors get kicked, the screaming begins and toilets get banged on. I ball up wet tissue and stuff it in my ears. This helps a little bit but I can still hear every word that is being spoken. The first few nights were rough but I managed. I was getting upset at my neighbors for making all the noise, but I had to sit back and realize what was going on. I know that being in solitary confinement can break down the most active comrade, I've seen it go down and I'm pretty sure those who spend years in the hole for being an unruly tenant have seen it as well.

To all comrades who are cussing these dudes out, ask yourself about those prisoners being disruptive. Are these cries for help cuz just being in a cell 24/7 is to much for them to handle and it's beginning to weigh on them mentally? I notice that these cries for help are met with the goon squad running in on them or these doctors forcing meds on them which they don't need. All this does is drive them deeper and deeper into depression and despair.

Animal rights agencies have gotten laws passed to ban this cruel treatment of animals but the government is still allowed to inflict this cruel treatment on humans, imagine that! The United $tates federal courts have acknowledged and ruled that solitary confinement causes sensory deprivation which in turn causes substantial psychological damage, this is no theory but a fact. Some common symptoms from sensory deprivation are paranoia, anxiety, depression, aggression and psychosis.

Our oppressors can change the name or paint it a pretty color but it's still solitary confinement. I guess they believe this tactic is working to subdue the rowdy cons and to turn prisoners against each other. But what prison officials don't realize is that they are going to eventually release a beast that they created back to society and when this home grown prison beast is released and kills someone officials have the nerve to act offended and prosecutors call him an animal and charge him just to put him back in solitary.

Right now I'm next to a young white brother who is on meds. He's 19 years old and has been in the hole for 1 year but from time to time he goes a little off the wall. He just had a psychotic episode where he threw shit on one of these pigs and just a few days ago he found out that he was being AG'd (the Attorney General wants to file new charges on him). Now he's looking at more time in prison and in solitary confinement where his mental state will surely get worse. What good is this doing? So instead of us talking shit and lashing at these people, let's take a deeper look at what's really going on.


MIM(Prisons) adds: This is a good letter illustrating the torture that is the long-term solitary confinement units in Amerika's criminal injustice system. The fight to shut down these Security Housing Units is a key part of the battle for better conditions. This is a tool for educating and organizing, and we need to unite rather than criticize those who are suffering in these units.

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[Control Units] [Apalachee Correctional Institution] [Florida]
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Control Units in Florida - Survey Reveals More Torture

I am currently at Apalachee Correctional Institution - West Unit. There are 2 units here: East Unit, which houses approx 1300 prisoners and West unit, which houses approx 875 prisoners. I have spent time in confinement at both units.

The East Unit Disciplinary Confinement (DC) segregation section consists of three dorms with 28 cells each housing two men. So it holds 168 at maximum capacity, and is always full. In DC we are on 24-hour lockdown. Showers are allowed three times a week in cold water, with approximately three minutes to wash. We receive 3-4 hours of recreation in a dog cage every Saturday after 30 days in. The size of the cage is around 15x8 feet.

The East Unit also has another dorm known as Administrative Confinement (AC). We are placed there until it is decided we go to DC or get let out. Reasons we go to AC include disciplinary reports, investigations (which can be for anything from gang involvement, to stealing from the kitchen, to disrespect staff), or "just 'cause." There is no rec for AC and we can be there for a a month or more if it is for an investigation. The AC dorm consists of 35-40 two-man cells 8x10 feet in size.

AC at the East Unit can reach well over 100 degrees in the summer months and we are required to be in Class A uniforms until 10 pm. There is no air circulation despite the fact there is a fan at the end of the hall. The fan is against the wall so it blows no air.

We are also placed into confinement for check-ins which can last 3 weeks months.

In the West Unit, AC and DC are the same 8 x 10 feet two-man cells, housing 38 men. There is no recreation, and showers are three times a week with about five minutes to wash. We receive 1/4 of a bar of soap per week from a bar of free hotel soap. Also, we receive one roll of toilet paper for two men every 10 days. It's supposed to be one roll per person.


MIM(Prisons) responds: This prisoner responded to our request for information about the control units in prisons across the country. In filling out the survey, this elaboration about the conditions of confinement reveals yet another set of long term isolation units that can be called nothing short of torture.

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[Political Repression] [Control Units] [California]
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Political Activist Locked in SHU on Falsified Evidence

Excerpted from a longer article by this prisoner: Who Am I

As is the case with just about every young Black male/female of the inner city ghettos of the world today, I first came to prison at a very young age, via several previous stints in juvenile hall, the California Youth Authority (CYA), etc. While in prison, I began to become politically and socially conscious through my individual studies and political education classes that I was fortunate enough to be involved with while housed in the adjustment center at San Quentin State Prison, with other like-minded brothers.

Due to my various political positions that became manifest in my active participation in speaking out against, and my refusal to accept, the many social injustices/abuses that were being perpetrated by our kaptors, against the prisoner class, I became the latest target of these gestapo agents' neo-fascist scheme of COINTELPRO [government counter intelligence program aimed at political activists such as the Black Panther Party]. In 1994, as a brotha was commemorating the historical significance of my New Afrikan Black ancestors' legacy of struggle, that entails the elaboration of, and the redemption of all New Afrikan Black people from the subjugation of U.$. colonial slavery, I was removed from the general population mainline of New Folsom State Prison, under the spurious premise of me planning a physical assault for a prisoner that I have never met, or been around, in my entire life!

A prisoner supposedly sent me a letter through the regular U.$. mail system, and ordered me to do this physical assault. It was later proven that no such letter ever existed, and I was never found guilty of anything. But nonetheless, I was still given an indeterminate Security Housing Unit (SHU) term, based on this one source of information. A room full of informants collaborated this information to prison officials, along with the fact that I was supposedly a prison gang member. This collaborated information was coerced from these prisoners via the arbitrary threat of them being removed from the general population mainline. It has been proven that some prisoners, as some civilians of the free world, would sell you their soul to keep from being locked up, or as in this case, from being placed in the SHU indefinitely.

My validation as a prison gang member, on this one source of information, violates the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation's (CDCR) own rules and regulations. In particular, CDCR Title 15 Section 3378, that states that for a prisoner to be validated as a prison gang member, there must be three independent sources of information that are proven to be reliable. My case is a concrete example of the fruit of the poisonous tree phenomena, because as the years passed on, with me now being housed in the SHU indefinitely, more and more informants have been forth to accuse me of being a prison gang member. This makes it impossible for me to be released from the SHU to a general population mainline.

But in addition to these material factors, Pelican Bay State Prison's (PBSP) Institution Gang Investigation officers have instituted a new phase of fascism, for purposes of implicating the indeterminate SHU class of captive New Afrikan Black prisoners as allegedly being involved in gang activities, by way of the political and social commentary that we send out through the mail to people of the free communities. This practice amounts to state-sponsored persecution for our political beliefs. This phase of fascism is continuing in spite of the court having ruled that:

"PBSP - CDCR Institution Gang Investigation unit officers, have been utilizing a race-based (e.g. 'racism') approach to say that our political and social commentary is gang activity."

The courts even went on to say:

"That PBSP - CDCR Institution Gang Investigation unit officers have not produced any evidence that said political and social commentary is gang related."

Make no mistake about it, 17 years later, and the struggle still continues as a New Afrikan Black political prisoner of war!

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[Organizing] [Control Units]
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Connecting Struggles Across the Country

I read the article in Under Lock & Key 22 FL Grievances Forbid Helping Others and I would like to thank the comrade in Florida for having the dedication and strength to fight against these pigs.

To my Florida comrade, I want to tell you to stay strong. Like Mao said "In times of difficulty we must not lose sight of our achievements, must see the bright future and pluck up our courage." I'm asking all of our comrades to remain constant to fully override this oppression in all prison systems. I'm in similar conditions in the Mass DOC, I'm in a control unit serving three years with one hour free to roam around a steel cage I call a dog kennel. Not only do we suffer from isolation, prisoners here are beaten by the staff and fed cold meals. Not only do the Correctional Officers in this facility oppress us directly but they also provoke situations between other comrades to enjoy the show and watch us destroy each other.

The staff continue to steal magazines and not allow grievances to fix these problems. I for sure will continue to speak my mind regardless of the repercussions or reprisals . Until next time stay strong united and positive.


MIM(Prisons) adds: One of the important contributions of the Under Lock & Key publication is connecting prisoners across the U.$. to share information and organization. As with the recent hunger strike in California, prisoners all across the country are inspired to learn about activism and unity. Do your part to share ULK and send donations to help with the cost of printing and mailing.

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